Taste Test: Frozen dinner rolls

Hot, buttery dinner rolls are the perfect side dish for any meal. But who has time to make bread rolls from scratch these days? Taster's Choice judges tried five brands found in local grocery store freezers and decided they could serve a few of them to their families and friends. Some of the frozen rolls needed to rise in the refrigerator or on the counter before baking. Our top pick came frozen in a convenient, foil pan. All were baked in the oven according to package directions.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
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Product/Score (out of 100) Sister Schubert's /69 Pillsbury/ 52 Publix/ 51
How'd it look? Regal. Like cupcakes. Golden brown, cloverleaf-shaped. Look the most like the original Parker House style rolls made first at the Parker House Hotel in Boston.

Like pull-apart rolls and a bit biscuitlike.

Judges' comments "These would look great on a holiday table," said one, who described the taste as "melt-in-your-mouth good." The Sister Schubert's rolls were sweeter than some of the competition. One judge said they were more like a homemade breakfast roll. "Brown 'n' serve, brown 'n' eat," said another, who said the rolls "were like Grandma's house at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning when you can smell the yeast and can barely wait to taste the rolls." "Sturdy on the outside, soft on the inside," said one judge. He especially liked the flaky texture of the rolls. Another liked the shape but said the texture was more like a crustier Kaiser roll.

The Publix "Parker House Style" rolls were light and airy. They were more compact than some of the others and they pulled apart easily, leaving lots of room for pats of butter. One judge disliked the Publix brand, describing the rolls as "school cafeteria looking."

Would they buy? All five judges said yes. Three out of five judges said yes. Two out of five judges said yes.

Shopping information Widely available. $3 for a 12-ounce package of six rolls, frozen in a foil pan at Publix. Widely available. $2.50 for a 12.4-ounce package at Publix. Widely available. $2.59 for a 14-ounce package.
Also sampled: Rhodes ($3.42 for a 2-pound package at Wal-Mart, 30 points) and Bridgford ($2.79 for a 25-ounce package at Publix, 48 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620, Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; Times food critic Laura Reiley; and consumer/foodie John Hehn, owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste Test: Frozen dinner rolls 11/18/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 9:52am]

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